Stackla, the social media marketing startup that had a near-death experience in 2019 when it was blocked Facebook and Instagram, has been sold to Finnish e-commerce platform Nosto.
The terms and conditions of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Facebook’s move against Stackla, which built its business on user-generated content amid a crackdown following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, led to threats of legal action in the US before the social media giant reinstated the company’s access in September 2019.
At the time, ASX-listed capital fund Bailador Technology Investments (ASX:BTI) wrote down its investment in Stackla to $0. Bailador’s quasi-exit from Stackla comes in the form of Nosto shares.
Bailador led a $4 million round into the business in 2016.
Founders Damien Mahoney and Peter Cassidy developed the idea for Stackla in 2011 when helping NRL teams develop social media content. Early investors in the idea included Rampersand and business journalist Alan Kohler.
Bailador managing partner Paul Wilson told the ASX today that the company is pleased to continue its investment with Nosto.
“The business operates in a very exciting space, and an already impressive tech offering will be enhanced by the Stackla capabilities,” he said.
“We are excited for Bailador investors to get exposure to a larger international business operating a leading personalisation platform in the very fast growth e-commerce space.”
The valuation of Bailador’s subsequently re-evaluated investment in Stackla sits at $11.5m, but will transition to a shareholding in Nosto upon completion of the deal.
Nosto enables retailers to deliver a personalised digital shopping experience and works with brands in more than 100 countries. Founded eight years ago, this is the company’s first acquisition.
CEO Jim Lofgren said that user-generated content (UGC) has become an even more important way for marketers to connect with shoppers in the past year.
“As online shopping accelerates and we crave human connection, consumers increasingly seek the real and relevant UGC they trust to help them make purchasing decisions,” he said.
“At the same time, brands are struggling to create enough engaging and diverse content to deliver the types of authentic, personalized experiences consumers expect. By pairing Stackla’s unrivaled UGC platform with Nosto’s leading commerce experience platform, we can solve this problem for brands—giving them the ability to create more meaningful shopping experiences that drive results.”
Stackla co-founder and CEO Damien Mahoney said that joining forces with Nosto, they aim to transform the way brands interact with shoppers.
The company’s client base includes Canon, Lush Cosmetics, Trek Bicycle, Kathmandu, and Nintendo.
In the months ahead, Nosto plans to roll out product enhancements that leverage Stackla’s platform alongside its own, and create new offerings.
The Finnish venture, which claims to be the world’s leading commerce experience platform, said that retailers and brands will be able to collect visual user-generated content from consumers across social media platforms to personalise their onsite shopping experiences.